Joan will be signing copies of her romance novel on:
March 24th from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM at
The Liberty State Writer’s Conference
at the Renaissance Hotel
515 US- Route 1, Iselin, NJ 08830
(Located across the road from the Mall at Woodbridge)
For the reading pleasure of all of our friends and fans here is the first installment of my latest short story:
by Joan Ramirez
Mark Thayer signed the guest book and took a seat in the last row of the funeral parlor.
Twenty minutes into his wait, the widow appeared, dressed in black. Mark watched as Jeanie walked up to her deceased husband’s spiritless body, took several deep breaths, and kissed Russ’s cold lips.
Mark thought about all the times Jeanie Colt said things would be different between them, but like a leopard, she was incapable of changing her spots. Even now with her husband in the coffin, Mark knew it would be difficult for her to start over.
When only the two of them remained in the chapel, Mark whispered in her ear. “Russ’s memory will haunt us until you open up your heart to love again.”
Jeanie withdrew into the past. When she’d taken Russ to the airport a few days ago, she never thought she’d be attending his funeral. Life was so fleeting. His snuffed out by a bullet to the head.
She loved Russ but didn’t know him as well as she’d thought. When the police called her to come down to the morgue to identify his body, she was stunned to learn he’d been having an affair.
Russ used to tell Jeanie he specialized in misery, reporting on perps who preyed on young girls. Then, he switched to boxing matches. Neither spot satisfied him. A year before his death, he’d asked Joe Manna, his boss at the Daily Mill, for a transfer to the government desk. Russ was relieved about the change.
Jeanie stared at the plain wooden box, wondering what she was doing here. An event planner was supposed to celebrate life at weddings and bridal showers, not bury her husband. People’s happiness had brought her joy. Now, she was shrouded in sorrow. She felt a firm hand grip her shoulder.
“The police told me what happened,” Joe Manna said. “I’m so sorry. You guys never had a chance. Too bad you were only married a year.”
Jeanie wept into a Kleenex. “I still can’t believe it.”
He leaned in closer. “I’m here for you, honey.”
Mark, Russ, and Jeanie had known each other since high school. All three graduated with journalism majors. Mark and Russ were sweet on her. When a torn ligament in his right leg ended Russ’s football career, he became a reporter. Back in the day, women vied for his attention. He built up his career and bank account with a number of lucrative betting tips on fights. He gave Jeanie the good life, with a summer home in the Hamptons, which now displayed a For Sale sign.
Russ wasn’t a giving guy. He’d fought too hard for his own break to be charitable. Mark, an orphan and Afghanistan veteran, believed in random acts of kindness.
Jeanie was fond of both men, but after college graduation accepted Russ’s proposal. Things were great in the beginning. Then late night meetings at work took him away from her. She was so naïve. She thought he was covering a story. He was getting late night action of a different kind.
Mark reached for her hand. “I’m so sorry you have to go through this. Russ was my friend too but those mood swings.”
“Apparently I wasn’t good enough because the police told me he had an affair.”
Mark raised his eyebrows. “What?’
Tears rolled down Jeanie’s cheek. “I was so happy when Russ switched desks at the paper. No more undercover work. No more calls in the middle of the night from crazy people. When I turned over at three in the morning, he was there beside me. We were planning a family. My life has turned into a nightmare. My happy ending is gone.”
Check back for PART TWO.
Today I’m happy to welcome author Joan Ramirez for an author spotlight.
— What is your writing process?
I strongly believe in outlines. This book, which I’m now crafting, will be a labor of love. My uncle, a WWII medal winning medic, left me his memorabilia. With all of the historical facts to sort through, I have composed a detailed outline, noting significant dates regarding Italian Front. He was meticulous in his correspondence, which makes my task a lot easier. However, I still have to do a lot of research regarding the war facts.
— Tell us about the book.
I’m hoping to turn it into a series as my uncle’s life was filled with meaty characters. As I write, sometimes I cry because I worshiped my uncle, a man for all seasons, beloved by all. I choose my character’s names by their personalities.
–Do you have some advice for a beginning author?
Learn the craft, read, read, and read in your genre, and when you’ve finished the book, edit by reading out loud to hear how the dialogue sounds. Is it accurately representing your characters?
— What genre(s) do you write in and why?
I write in suspense with touches of romance because I find it challenging and exciting.
— What is your favorite part of writing?
My favorite part of writing is the editing. It gives me an opportunity to stop and think and rephrase and mold and shape my book much as I’m doing with my photography portfolio. This is the creative part for me.
— How has being published changed your life?
Being published (I’ve done three nonfiction and my first contemporary romance) has made me realize how much I love books. I have many stories to tell. As I grow in my writing process, I’ve learned to more patient with myself. Nothing good comes of rushing creativity.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Willie’s Test
In my World War II historical romantic suspense as war rages on the Italian Front, medic/pharmacist Willie C works to save his Army buddy’s leg but can’t save another soldier, Saul, from limping. To show his gratitude, Mario F invites Willie to spend his three-day leave with his relatives. One look at Mario’s younger sister, and Willie knows he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. At war’s end, the young lovers vow to find a way to be together as Saul seeks revenge on Will.